Meet Your Friends Board – Treasurer Cathy Prazenica

June 19, 2021

Cathy Prazenica and her husband moved to the valley in 2014 from Long Beach, via Idaho and San Francisco. She joined the Friends of the Library in 2016, and quickly became an “essential worker” on the board. She has served as treasurer since 2017 and has made very good use of her years with Sprint, where she retired as manager for the California voice and data network, and as executive assistant for the Journal Broadcast Group in Idaho.

Cathy Prazenica

Her tenure as Friends treasurer is marked by many improvements in our financial policies and procedures.

Like Ellie, Cathy is happy to be back in an area with four seasons, and she enjoys being two hours from the Oregon coast and just minutes from theatres in both Medford and Ashland. She likes to exercise and keep fit, and also says that she and her husband share food as a hobby, “getting it, preparing it, eating it.”  She describes her perfect summer day as “Early morning yoga and a vigorous walk; breakfast; lunch; dinner (did I mention we’re into food?) with family, following an afternoon of swimming and billiards; an evening of stargazing by the pool; sharing it all with Corky, my husband of 42 years.”

Interestingly, like Ellie, Cathy is currently reading The Giver of Stars by JoJo Moyes.  Next up for her is The Woman with the Blue Star by Pam Jenoff.  She notes that since the pandemic, most of her reading is on her tablet, thanks to Library2Go through Jackson County Library Services.

Thanks for all that you bring to and do for the Friends, Cathy!

Meet the Library Staff – Ellie Anderson, Head of Adult Services, Ashland Branch

June 19, 2021

Ellie Anderson joined the JCLS staff as head of Ashland Library Adult Services in October.

Ellie Anderson

Ellie grew up in Maui, Hawaii, received her BA in English and theater from Oberlin College, and her MLIS from Rutgers. Much of her library career has been in California, from Teen Services in South San Francisco to Children’s Services in San Mateo County, to Youth, Reference and Outreach Services Manager at Monterey Public Library.

After more than a decade in the San Francisco Bay area, she and her husband were both ready for life in a smaller community, especially one with Ashland’s cycle of seasons. She remembers that “ watching my little boys see snow fall for the first time and tulips peek out of the earth was delightful.”

AS a JCLS newbie, Ellie is “impressed by the caliber of the staff and how they prioritize working together and supporting each other. I’m also very pleased to be part of an organization with a strong commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. It takes work and intentionality to truly be a public institution that is open and welcoming to everyone in a community, even and especially marginalized populations, and JCLS is doing that work.”

Ellie is developing ways to make the library’s collection even more appealing and easy to use and to highlight smaller collection areas that can sometimes be overlooked. She is also looking forward to working with Adult Services staff to expand the variety of library programs and connections.

In addition to reading, Ellie enjoys baking and getting into nature, and calls herself “a middling but enthusiastic container gardener.” Right now, she is reading The Giver of Stars by JoJo Moyes, a novel based on the real-life Packhorse Librarians who brought reading material to people in remote areas of the Kentucky mountains during the Depression.

Welcome, Ellie!

Dear Stranger: Jackson County Letter Exchange

June 19, 2021
Modeled after the Oregon Humanities “Dear Stranger” project, the library’s letter exchange invites Jackson County residents, 18 years and up, to write a letter to a stranger. Each letter writer will be matched with another, ideally from a different zip code. If you write a letter, you will receive a letter.

You may write about anything you choose, but possible prompts include: What does community mean to you? How are you a leader in your community, or how would you like to be? What are your favorite things about living in Southern Oregon? What is one of your favorite books?

You should address your letter “Dear Stranger.” Please include your name and return address on the envelope, but not in the content of your letter. Letters will be removed from their original envelopes to keep letter writers anonymous. Please remember that what you share in the letter (such as details about yourself, photos, etc.) may contain information that could identify you. When you receive a letter, instructions will be provided if you are interested in further communication.

Please note, JCLS staff will read all letters before they are exchanged. JCLS accepts no responsibility for the content of correspondence exchanged through the Dear Stranger program. Letters must be received by JCLS by June 30th. Return letters will be mailed to participants in July. To join in, go to and complete a release form.

National Library Week

June 19, 2021

To celebrate National Library Week in April, the Friends surprised Ashland Library staff with Ashland Chamber of Commerce gift certificates that they can use at over forty local businesses. We were glad for a chance to say thank-you for the terrific job the whole staff has done in challenging circumstances the last year.

Pat Fuhrman says thanks to Library Associates Clare Taylor (left) and Holly Mills.

Bonnie Johnson presents a gift card to Security Guard, Scott Derrico.